science x art 1

It is our great honor to have Dr. Yun Wah Lam as our speaker in the Science x Art = Knowledge Revolution talk last week at MakerBay Central. This talk is one of the public lecture from the Let’s Talk Bio! series organised by DIY BIO Hong Kong at PMQ. This is the most popular talk among our previous talks so far. In the talk Dr. Lam shared his personal journey in the teaching of science to art students in CityU’s newly created bachelor programme of Art and Science (BAS). Illustrated by student projects, he also tell you why a dialogue between artists and scientists can lead a new intellectual movement.

Date: 25 May, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: MakerBay Central, PMQ H508

About Dr. Yun Wah Lam

Dr Yun Wah Lam was born and educated in Hong Kong. After obtaining his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Hong Kong, he moved to Dundee, Scotland in 1998 to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Wellcome Trust Centre in Cell Biology. He returned to his hometown in 2007 and joined City University of Hong Kong as an assistant professor. He built a multi-disciplinary research network, consisting of biochemists, chemists, materials scientists and medical doctors, to tackle a variety of biological projects, ranging from environmental sciences to regenerative medicine. Yun is also highly passionate about education and popularisation of science. He teaches on a range of subjects, including genetics, analytical biochemistry, and systems biology, and has developed several innovative courses for City University’s Gateway Education programme. Outside work, Yun is a keen lover of art and design, an amateur illustrator, writer and collector of useless facts.

 

Some takeaways from the talk:
  • Science is not always about applications. The exploration and discovery element is always neglected in the modern world.
  • When looking back to the great inventors in history, for instance Leonardo Da Vinci, the Wright brothers, Mendel etc. They did not constrain themselves to think solely like a scientist or engineer, but were actually incorporating different disciplines during their inventing journey. To be more precise, they don’t really have a mindset of specialisation. This help them tear down the artificial boundaries between knowledge pools.
  • The students’ work remind us of the joy of making discoveries and curiosity on the surroundings.
  • The mental burden of “usefulness, meaningful to civilisation, profitability” always stop me from doing science.
  • Everyone can do science simply just for fun just like doing art!
barcode workshop

How did you spend your easter holiday? Our team had spent a wonderful weekend with 11 kids in our community biolab, learning DNA barcoding, its applications and some basic molecular biology skills. This was our very first workshop of our Hong Kong DNA Barcoding project. It was held on 15-16 April at our community biolab at MakerBay. There was totally 11 kids, from 8 to 15 years old joining and some parents also participate in the process.

We kickstart our day with a brief introduction of DNA Barcoding and why we do barcoding, then we went out to Lei Yue Mun to collect plants samples and document the collected samples on iNaturalist app. The kids made several new discoveries. One of the 8 year old boy, Joe told us “I didn’t think of plants also have DNA! I thought only human have DNA.” Another girl, Amber, also found that some plants look very similar but when she touched the leaves, she discovered that one plant species actually has hair on the leaf surface while another doesn’t.

paren and boy collect plant samples

We then returned to the lab with the specimen and isolate the DNA from the plant samples. The kids have great interested on using micropipette and centrifuge. Joe was so excited that he even drew out the the lab and the equipments and gave us as a gift.

IMG-20170416-WA0066 drawingIMG-20170416-WA0031 IMG-20170416-WA0068

In day 2, the kids learnt about how PCR works and prepared PCR reaction mix for their own samples. After 2 hours, they took out their PCR products, learn casting agarose gels and analyze the amplified DNA by gel electrophoresis. Below shows the gel photograph:

16Apr gel photo

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-18 at 12.04.43 PM IMG_20170416_125252 gel

Though some samples shows no band, we still got 60% successful rate. Yet this was a good learning experience for both us and the kids!

More detailed lab log can be found on our wiki: https://sites.google.com/site/diybiohongkong/hong-kong-barcode/15-16-april-2017-workshop 

gel electrophoresis

What is Barcode Hong Kong Project?

The Hong Kong Barcode Project is a citizen science program in Hong Kong. Just like the unique pattern of bars on the products in supermarket, a DNA barcode is a DNA sequence that uniquely identifies each species of living thing. The Hong Kong Barcode Project aims to engage general public using DNA technology to explore biodiversity in Hong Kong.

Projects can use DNA barcodes to examine any aspect of the environment, such as:

  • Sampling biodiversity in a park, garden, office, or school;
  • Checking for invasive plant or animal species;
  • Monitoring disease vectors;
  • Identifying exotic or endangered food products in markets; and
  • Detecting food mislabeling.

 

Our Barcoding First Test

As a DIYBio community, we decided to run our first testing in a DIY way. We used DIY lab ware like 3D printed gel electrophoresis tank, Blue LED transilluminator and DIY DNA extraction method.

We collected two plants sample nearby our lab and recorded their geographical location in iNaturalist app. We did the DNA extraction using commercial kit as well as our homemade DNA extraction recipe.

 

Our results

Yeah! We got our DNA bands! It proves our DIY DNA extraction methods and PCR works. Though there are still some adjustments needed to be made.

first test result

 

Our next step

Improve and run again to make the process goes more smoothly. Then we will organise a Barcoding workshop in our meetup to invite general public to try doing wet lab like a DIY biologist! Ultimately, we would like to provide education to general public.

 

Find out more:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DIYBIOHongKong/

Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/DIYBIOHK/

Our First testing Lab Note: https://sites.google.com/site/diybiohongkong/hong-kong-barcode/first-testing

 

Hello everyone. Welcome back in Hong Kong after the summer break!
DIYBIO Hong Kong is off to a great start and we will build on this to bring Biology to everyone in Hong Kong.

The following events are planned for the near future and we hope to see all of you there:
1) We will be joining the fight against Zika: https://www.facebook.com/events/1725220037743310/
2) We will be learning about microbiology while making yogurt on Thursday the 8th of September.http://www.meetup.com/DIYBIOHK/events/233818741/


3) Scott Evans will share the Hong Kong genome project: Bauhinia Genome in our second “Let’s Talk Biology” event. https://www.eventbrite.hk/e/lets-talk-bio-hong-kong-bauhinia-genome-project-tickets-27510586906
Please keep an eye on both the Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/DIYBIOHongKong/ and the Meetup page http://www.meetup.com/DIYBIOHK/ for announcements of other events as they are scheduled.


Thank you for everyone who came to our past events and helped to make them successful!
1) We held a 3D microscopy” event in partnership with Looking Glass and MakerBay on 16 June.
2) We made some great strawberry DNA cocktails


3) We learned from Professor King Chow about “Sensing trace minerals in the soil” during our first “Let’s Talk Biology” event on July 28.

4) We had an information session on what is DNA Barcoding by Gert.
5) Maria told us more about iGEM
6) We cooked delicious food and observed it under the microscope – twice!

food microscope

To see more photos of these events please visit our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/DIYBIOHongKong/

 

In terms of equipment the here is a list of what we have currently – some of it was bought while some of was made:
1) PCR machine
pcr machine

2) Laminar cabinet

laminar flow cabinet

3) Incubator
4) Mini centrifuge
5) Micro pipets – 2 sets of 3
6) Hotplate
7) Some Glassware
8) Digital scale
9) 2 Compound microscopes
10) Gel electrophoresis tank
11) Blue LED transilluminator for viewing DNA bands after gel electrophoresis

blue led transilluminator-maria li lok yee

Some of our members are also in the process of building 3D Bio-printers.

If you are willing to donate to our lab, we will greatly appreciate any old lab equipment. We are also looking for an old microwave.


We are getting ready for the Barcode Hong Kong Project. The pieces we need to proceed are all falling into place! Would you like to help us set up the Indiegogo campaign? Please let us know! We need people with web design know how as well as people who can make great videos. If you can’t do one of those two things – come help too as your ideas will be most welcome!


Further in the pipeline we are also planning a Forensic Science workshop for secondary school students.

Come bring your ideas and enthusiasm! Let’s all work together to spread the wonder of Biology throughout Hong Kong!

DIYBIO is part of a growing movement of citizen scientists working with Biology. Anyone interested in Biology is welcome to join. Let’s explore and learn together. Wouldn’t it be great to have a biology-based maker space where anyone can come and do research and experiments or just learn more about Biology here in Hong Kong? Join us and help make that a reality!

  • Promote and support biological science
  • Provide a physical location for members to practice their interests in biological science
  • Provide a forum for members to engage with other people to further their interests in biological science
  • Provide a platform to raise awareness among the general public of the practice of biological science in everyday life and to foster this culture in Hong Kong
  • Encourage members to create profitable innovative ideas, companies and enterprises focused (but not exclusively) on biological science
  • Foster collaboration between its members and members of similar biological science organizations in other jurisdictions